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Stigma & Addiction

For people who use drugs, or are recovering from problematic drug use, stigma can be a barrier to a wide range of opportunities and rights. People who are stigmatized can endure:

  • Social rejection
  • Labeling
  • Stereotyping
  • Discrimination
  • Denial of employment or housing
  • Accessing treatment

Even among people who use drugs, stigma towards other who use a different drug can be common.

  • Those who use alcohol (legal and socially acceptable) feel negatively about illegal drug use (marijuana)
  • Those who use illegal drugs perceived as “soft”, such as marijuana, feel prejudices against those who use powdered, harder drugs like cocaine.
  • Those who snort drugs look down upon those who inject a drug.

can help end stigma by:

  • Learning the facts about different drugs
  • Learning the facts about drug use and addiction
  • Understanding and sharing information about evidence-based treatment for substance abuse
  • Language matters – instead of referring to someone as a “junkie” or “addict”, say “a person addicted to drugs”.

Words Matter...

Instead Of Saying Certain Phrases, Try a Non-Judgmental Alternative!

Resource Links

MACS provides support to prescribers and their practices, pharmacists, and healthcare teams in addressing the needs of patients with substance use disorders and chronic pain management.